Much of the best food we eat is pollinated by bees. NZ’s bee population contribute about $5 billion to our economy per year. Unfortunately, with loss of habitat, the increasing use of pesticides and the invasion of the varroa mite, the world’s bees are at risk. As gardeners, we can play a part in helping their survival.
Hosting a beehive in your garden is a contribution to their survival. Hives can be rented or purchased, and courses are available through Beekeeper Clubs. Another way to help the bees is to plant a floral haven filled with nectar and pollen. Many common garden flowers, vegetable plants and fruit trees provide food for bees. The common clover that grows in lawns is a wonderful provider for bees.
Blue, purple, white and yellow-flowering plants are bee favourites, and they generally prefer simple flowers with a single row of petals. Plant lots of different bee friendly plants in your garden, including bee flowers for each season to provide a constant source of nectar and pollen all year round. Planting in generous groupings of each favourite plant will help the bees find them.
Old fashioned flowers like lavender, verbena, bee balm and alyssum are ideal. Of course bees love fruit tree flowers and the flowers of vegetable plants and herbs when we let them go to seed. Native plants that are loved by bees include pohutukawa, rata, hebes and of course, manuka.
|Pipfruit - apples & pears
|Citrus - lemon, mandarin, orange, lime
|Stonefruit - peaches, nectarines, apricots, plums
|Berries - strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
|Queen Ann's Lace
|SHRUBS & CLIMBERS
Find out more at Apiculture New Zealand apinz.org.nz